Schools reopening should be our priority | Flick Drummond MP

The vaccine roll-out across Hampshire is going very well with most of the county’s over-80s being given their first jab.

Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 11:55 am
Teacher Ruth Titmus leads a maths class for Year Four children in their classroom at Greenacres Primary Academy in Oldham, northern England on September 02, 2020. - Millions of children across England have returned to school this week after the Covid-19 lockdown with many schools introducing measures to enable as safe an environment as possible. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said that the return of pupils to schools in England this week will be a 'massive milestone'. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The most vulnerable group – care home residents – have also been very well targeted and, in Meon Valley, all who wanted a vaccination have now received it along with care home staff.

This is great news and the UK vaccination programme is being delivered at pace and on target to have the top four priority groups – care home residents, over 70s, health and care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable – by mid-February.

I would like to thank all the volunteers and retired GPs and nurses who have answered the call to help with the biggest immunisation this country has ever undertaken. Without them, we would not be in such a good position. The key message here is for everyone in these top four groups is to wait to be called for the vaccine – the NHS will get to you. Some people do contact me asking why at 91 they haven’t had the jab but their 87-year-old neighbour has. The answer is age is not the only consideration. The 87-year-old might have had other health issues and so was called first, or their GP was just slightly ahead.

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It appears the only way out this lockdown purgatory is the vaccination programme and I fear even this wonderful development will not bring a quick end to the restrictions. We still do not know if those who are inoculated can pass on the virus and there are new variants we must be mindful of. We will return to normal but it will take time. I can only ask for everyone to stick to the rules. I do also understand how difficult this is and how jobs and businesses remain under threat because of lockdown.

Another concern is about schools. My view is we must have schools reopening as the number one priority once infections start to fall. I am very concerned children will become the hidden victims of this virus if we do not get them back into lessons. I have made this case in parliament and the Prime Minister. I do understand this is a difficult decision but the future of our children is paramount.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​